Insomnia, back pain, headaches, heartaches, temper tantrums.

What’s not to love about finishing a thesis??



Ten Years

Ten years. A decade. I remember rather well what it felt like to turn ten years old. I was immensely proud of having two digits to mark my numerical age instead of just one. I also remember feeling like I’d accrued a great deal of knowledge and besides learning how to drive a car I was pretty close to knowing all the things I needed to know in order to be an adult. (The truth is I probably had learned more about the world than I ought to have known!)  That was what it felt like to be a ten year old looking forward. But as a thirty-three year old looking backward, I see only how much more there was (and is) to learn.
The final day of June next week will mark ten years of being married to Greg. Yes, if you’re doing the math that means we were mere babes, just 23. Some people certainly thought we were crazy. Other people came right out and told us we were crazy. I suppose we were.

It was one of those hot, hot summer days. Those days that are so hot that a thunderstorm just hangs in the heavens, behind the sunny haze waiting to crash through. We’d planned an outdoor wedding with no indoor back-up plan. Though the wind threatened to ruin every photo by keeping my veil permanently suspended in air, anyone who knows me well knows that the wind was mightily welcomed by me.

The thunderstorm did eventually arrive but by then we were safely stowed away inside eating dinner. If I had to do the wedding day all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing (well, maybe the big pouffy ivory dress part!) If I had to do the ten years of marriage that followed, I wouldn’t change anything either (except maybe the big pouffy ivory dress that hangs in my closet doing nothing part!) I stand now with that dichotomous feeling – that the time has both flown by in the blink of an eye and that it has been filled with so many different moments I couldn’t possibly see all the ways we’ve grown and loved in those 10 years.
The best part? I still get to share every day with Greg – my best friend, my lover, my soul mate. Grow old along with me, the best is yet to come.

Summer School

I’m back at Dawson these days. Even though I’m not teaching right now, I’m finding delicious silences and spaces in which to launch this final assault on my thesis. Regular day class sections are all done. All the marking is done and the final grades have been submitted. Offices are nearly all empty and the support staff seem to be sighing a collective now-we-can-breathe sigh. The halls are long, quiet alleys of flourescent light.

But I’m not alone at Dawson. Aside from the summer-hazed support staff and management, there are others. There are other  teachers and there are some rather reluctant-looking students. There are classes being held and papers being graded. Just because this year summer school has slipped past my radar doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist. Faculty members are working their asses off to teach courses designed to be taught in 15 weeks in just 7 weeks. Four hour classes are replacing hour and a half classes. Students do not want to be there. And quite frankly, I don’t think it’s all that different for faculty. Yet they are there. And they will be summer after summer. Even though Oka beach calls them and La Ronde promises edge-of-your-seat thrills, yet still there will be students barely surviving the pain of summer school and faculty pretending they aren’t doing the same thing. While it’s true that a small minority of students are enrolled in summer school in order to get ahead and maybe finish in better stead than their classmates, at the end of the day most students are there because they’ve failed. Either they’ve failed that exact class or they failed another class they needed and therefore are behind. Hence summer school.

Bored Student Looking out Window [42-19157816]

Summer school – the world of second chances. The opportunity to give it a better shot. The chance to work harder, to try again, to get it right. It means sacrifices – huge sacrifices if you love summer the way I do – but that is the cost. For seven weeks, summer will be only what you see out the window or in the short dashes across Maisonneuve to get a coffee at Starbucks during the break in that aforementioned four hour class. It will not be the summer of your childhood. It will not be the summer you dream of. But it is a gift nonetheless  – even if every second of it hurts.  

Not every failure has its summer school redemption option, that’s true.  But some do and I hope that I seize those opportunities to try again.